Japan Davis Cup TennisEcuador's team, forehand, celebrates after beating Japan, rear, during their Davis Cup qualifier in Miki, Hyogo prefecture, western Japan, Saturday, March 7, 2020. With no fans in the stands to give host Japan a boost, Ecuador took an insurmountable 3-0 lead on Saturday to secure a place in November's Davis Cup Finals in Madrid.(Nobuki Ito/Kyodo News via AP)
MIKI, Japan (AP) — With no fans in the stands to give host Japan a boost, Ecuador took an insurmountable 3-0 lead on Saturday to secure a place in November's Davis Cup Finals in Madrid.
Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo beat Ben McLachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama 7-6 (3), 6-3 in Saturday's doubles played at an empty stadium amid fears about the spread of the coronavirus.
“The situation with no fans helped us," Hidalgo said. “It was weird, different, to play in a stadium without spectators, and I think that it evened up the tie.”
Emilio Gomez beat Go Soeda 7-5, 7-6 (3) and Roberto Quiroz followed with a 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (8) victory over Uchiyama in Friday's singles.
“These guys work very hard and are very committed to Davis Cup and representing their country," Ecuador captain Raul Viver said. "I’m so happy for them. I know the effort they put into their tennis, and sometimes with not much financial support,”
In addition to the Davis Cup, Japanese preseason baseball games and sumo are being held in empty stadiums. The Japanese professional soccer league wiped out the first month of its season.
Japan was without top-ranked Kei Nishikori, who is injured.
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